Homestory #2: craft room

Their lives are filled with adventure, DIY, crafts and building, but also saving the day. They rise to the challenge and are always totally committed. Aside from the inherent risks they face professionally, these everyday heroes open themselves up to other dangers away from their jobs, which should not be underestimated. That they remain relaxed and focused as they achieve excellent results is down to their exceptional equipment. They place their trust in uvex safety products.
Our real life stories allow others to share personal experiences with their favourite uvex products.

Christian G. from Forchheim is a project manager in the machine construction industry by profession, but in his spare time, he loves to potter away in his craft room in the cellar. In the interview below he tells us how he protects himself from danger in his hobby:

homestory2_hobbykelleruvex: Could you please briefly describe the hobby in which you use uvex personal protective equipment?

CG: I predominantly use uvex products for DIY tasks at home.  Whenever I am drilling, turning, working with a chainsaw, milling or grinding, I wear uvex safety spectacles.

uvex: Which dangers and challenges do you encounter?

CG: The main issue is chips and shavings that fly around following any such rotary activity, which can be dangerous if they go in my eyes.

uvex: How are you protected when engaging in your hobby?

CG: My protection comprises suitable clothing, safety gloves, hearing protection, dust mask and safety spectacles.

uvex: Which uvex products do you wear for protection?

CG: I use uvex hearing protection as well as the safety eyewear.

uvex: Has using uvex products changed the way you practice your hobby?

CG: By using these products, I feel safer when I carrying out such activities and am therefore able to better concentrate on the task in hand.

Christian G. clearly explains that the right level of protection is not just important at work, but also for hobbies and DIY at home. As a rule, it is important to always be suitably protected when working with machines, even at home, and not to treat personal safety lightly.
Thank you for talking to us, Christian G. We wish him all the best and continued pleasure as he safely continues as a hobby craftsman.

 

uvex is delighted that its industrial health and safety products are used in the private domain as well as professional working life. However, we are of course not able to ensure that the right products are used privately for the respective activity. uvex therefore does not accept any liability for the correct and appropriate application of products and their condition, nor can it be held liable for non-uvex products.

“International Noise Awareness Day”

In 2011, insurance companies recognised 6,304 cases of noise-induced hearing impairment as occupational illnesses, which puts it at the top of the list in this category.

This impairment occurs when sound waves have damaged the hair cells lining the inner ear. Once these have died, they cannot be regenerated; so there is no cure if an individual has noise-induced hearing impairment. The severity of the damage very much depends on the noise intensity and length of exposure.

Stress factors for the entire body
Noise not only hinders concentration and potentially causes hearing loss, but can also be a stress factor for the entire body. It can result in changes to biological risk factors such as blood lipids, blood sugar and coagulation, for example. Cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure, certain types of heart disease as well as heart attacks, can be triggered through noise exposure.

Those who are affected by hearing loss are initially unable to perceive the higher frequencies, with the perception of medium and lower frequency sounds being impacted later. In order to ensure good hearing in older age, it is important efforts are already made for its protection when young.

hi-com_Schrauben_300pxGuidance on how this is to be implemented in the workplace is set out in the “Occupational safety directive on noise and vibration”. This states that employers must inform their staff about the dangers of noise exposure if the level exceeds 80 dB(A) and a maximum noise level of 135 dB(C). In these cases, employees must be offered suitable hearing protection. It is obligatory for staff to wear hearing protection if noise exceeds 85 dB(A), and 137 dB(C).

Sources of noise are not only found in manufacturing and workshops with large machinery, but noise is also a common problem in unexpected areas, such as offices.

 

While communication between staff is essential for some work processes, this can cause undue stress and reduce wellbeing. The greater the number of people in an office, the louder it will be, which is particularly true for large and open-plan offices. Common causes of noise include conversations between colleagues, office equipment such as printers and photocopiers, telephone conversations as well as street noise. Although office noise does not acutely damage hearing, it can be extremely tiring and stressful. As a result, concentration levels may fall, which can have a negative effect on performance as well as attention and responsiveness.

The situation can be improved through technical and organisational measures, for example by ensuring adequate space between work stations to reduce the overall noise in the office. For areas with noise in excess of 85 dB(A), organisational measures alone will not suffice. This is where the “Occupational safety directive on noise and vibration” comes into play and hearing protection must be worn.

uvex provides personal protective equipment (PPE) from head to toe. Hearing protection is an essential part of this and it is important that the right option is chosen to meet requirements.

A noise analysis must be carried out to identify sources of noise. However, other criteria such as noise duration, compatibility with other PPE products and wearer properties should also be taken in to account.

uvex has a choice of different hearing protection in its range, so it can offer each individual wearer the appropriate hearing protection. A distinction is made between earplugs, earmuffs and otoplastics.

stoepsel_2124_001_300pxEarplugs (disposable or reusable) are particularly suited to being worn for extended periods and in combination with other PPE. They are also suitable for use in working environments with high temperatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Earmuffs are generally worn with a headband, but other models are available that can be attached directly to an industrial safety helmet, should one be needed. Earmuffs are the right option for individuals who have sensitive ear canals, as an alternative to ear plugs.

 

 

 

 

 

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Otoplastics are tailor-made earplugs which are individually moulded to the shape of the ear canal. Depending on the model, a universal or customised filter can be chosen to provide the optimum level of protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good to know
Perception of noise differs from person to person. Whether a noise is “only” a little uncomfortable or causes lasting damage to hearing is very difficult to assess personally.
While the pain threshold is at around 120 dB(A), hearing can already be damaged at much lower levels of noise exposure.
How loud are your surroundings? Use the uvex Decibel app (only for iOS) to test your workplace.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions on the importance of hearing protection and how to prevent damage.
Please email expertenblog@uvex.de and we will be happy to help.

Sustainable production at uvex #2

Sustainability in the manufacture of safety footwear

In mid-February, we introduced you to the main points of the focus on sustainability at our production facility for uvex hearing protection in Sweden. High value is not just placed on sustainable manufacturing in Sweden. Safety footwear is also manufactured in accordance with our sustainability principles at the Ceva site, where the subsidiary UVEX CAGI S.R.L. is based.

The following eight areas are again the main focus with regard to sustainability:

1 Energy and climate
2 Carbon footprint
3 Water and waste water
4 Waste and recycling
5 Made in Europe
6 Industrial and product safety
7 Environmentally friendly product concept
8 Social responsibility

 

Read on to see how these points help uvex comply with the sustainability guidelines:

 

1 Energy and climate
Minimum energy consumption. Maximum environmental protection.
Over the past five years, energy consumption has been reduced by more than 12% through targeted measures. The introduction of a new lighting system has boosted our energy savings by an additional 24,000 kWh.
As a result, 25% fewer lamps are needed and the lifespan of the energy saving lighting system has doubled, helping to reduce waste. We are saving as much energy as an average family uses in 10 years.

 

2 Carbon footprint
Less CO2. More sun.
We want to protect the environment and focus on effective measures for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Our protective footwear’s carbon footprint is continually being reduced.  By switching to a more efficient heating system, powered by gas rather than oil, we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 18%, or 30,000 kg of CO2 each year. In addition, we have invested in a solar power system with which we can
reduce the annual CO2 output by 35,000 kg. With the additional energy gained from the solar power, we can manufacture almost 39,000 pairs of shoes per year.

 

3 Water and waster water
Minimum consumption. No waste water.
We have been doing our utmost to reduce our water consumption to an absolute minimum. It only takes 0.06 litres of water to manufacture one pair of protective shoes – this value was verified through close-up images. The water used in the manufacturing process evaporates completely and as a result we do not produce a single drop of waste water. In addition we collect rainwater for use in our employee sanitary facilities.

 

4 Waste and recycling
Less waste. More recycling.
Through modern manufacturing technology and continuous optimisation of our production systems we were able to reduce our manufacturing waste by 25%. In addition, we are the first manufacturer in the protective footwear sector to collaborate with our technology partners on a comprehensive raw materials recycling concept. In future, a continuous recycling process will exist, creating new manufacturing materials out of raw material waste. Since 2012, 30 tonnes of plastic waste have been recycled and re-used in production each year.

 

5 Made in Europe
Shorter distances. Closer to the customer.
Our manufacturing plant in Italy enables short delivery distances as 98% of our protective footwear customers are European. Material deliveries via Italian harbours reduce transportation distances throughout Europe.

 

 

 

6 Industrial and product safety
Fewer pollutants. Improved safety.
In 2009, uvex created a list of 51 banned pollutants in addition to to EC directives (e.g. REACH) in order to protect people and the environment. Independent testing institutes regularly test to verify the absence of these harmful substances. For example, only chromium(VI)-free bleached leather is used for our protective footwear. Industrial safety is very important to us: the number of workplace injuries is far below the industry average.

 

7 Environmentally friendly product concept
Clear conscience. Pure products.
All of our suppliers and business partners are bound to the uvex social standard. This guarantees adherence to ethical principles and basic human rights. Independent testing institutes inspect this at regular intervals. Furthermore, certification of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 is emphasised in our choice of business partners. The majority of textile uppers and inner linings in our protective footwear conform to the Oeko-Tex® standard. The product packaging consists of more than 90% recycled material, only recylced paper, and is sourced from suppliers located within 50 km of the manufacturing plant.

 

8 Social responsibility
More opportunities. Better futures.
We are committed to children and young people: as a passive member of the CFP Cebano Monregalese School in Ceva, Italy, we contribute to creating job opportunities for young people. We also regularly participate in creating employment opportunities for disabled people. Furthermore, we are aware of our responsibility to our employees: 40% of them have been working for us for more than 20 years. Regular education and training opportunities are offered to our employees by the uvex academy.

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Those are our eight core principles on sustainability in Italy.
Discover how our site in Sweden achieves sustainability manufacturing in our Sustainability brochure or read our blog item “Sustainable production at uvex”.

Do you have any questions on sustainability or how it is implemented in our plants?
Please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing expertenblog@uvex.de

Sustainable production at uvex

Sustainability at the manufacturing facility in Sweden

Both SwedSafe AB in Höör, Sweden, and UVEX-CAGI S.R.L. in Ceva, Italy, are subsidiaries of the uvex safety group. The production facility for uvex hearing protection is located in Höör and our safety footwear is manufactured in Ceva.
More than 1,700km apart, the two plants do not seem to have much in common aside from bearing the uvex name. However, there is one thing – or rather, one guiding principle, to which both plants firmly adhere: sustainability.
As a family company, uvex thinks long-term. It also sets great store by sustainability. The uvex claim, “protecting people,” means that in addition to looking after those around us, uvex is also deeply committed to ensuring the well-being of the environment. The company therefore considers it imperative to act in a responsible way when dealing with resources and the environment during the manufacturing process.
But what exactly is sustainability, and in what ways is it reflected in product manufacturing?

The following eight principles make up the main sustainability focal points in both Italy and Sweden:

1 Energy and climate
2 Carbon footprint
3 Water and waste water
4 Waste and recycling
5 Made in Sweden
6 Industrial and product safety
7 Environmentally friendly product concept
8 Social responsibility

 

Let’s look first at our colleagues in Sweden, who put this method of sustainability into practice:

 

1 Energy and climate
Minimum energy consumption, maximum climate protection.
Over the past eight years, the plant has managed to decrease its energy consumption by 45%.
We keep energy demand at a very low level using modern machinery and innovative processes.
Energy resources are used in an efficient way to help protect the climate.
For example: just 3.6 kWh of energy are needed to manufacture 1,000 pairs of earplugs, which is no more than that required to produce the paper for your favourite weekly magazine.

 

2 Carbon footprint
Innovative energy sources for a clean environment.
Protecting the environment using renewable energy sources is one of uvex’s most important goals. We never use gas or oil for heating or in the manufacturing process. Most of the energy we use comes from wind and hydroelectric power, which means we produce no CO2 emissions. Of our electricity, 70% is produced in an ecological way.

 

 

 

3 Water and waste water
We would like to protect global water resources over the long term.
We have therefore been doing out utmost over the years to reduce our water consumption to a minimum.
The result: just 140ml of water is needed to manufacture 1,000 pairs of earplugs, which is equivalent to approximately one champagne glass.

Cleaner method: any water used in the manufacturing process completely vaporises, which means not a single drop of waste water is produced.

 

4 Waste and recycling
We recycle, which means that no hazardous waste is created.
We have managed to significantly decrease our waste production in recent years.
A mere 85 grams of waste are produced when manufacturing 1,000 pairs of earplugs. That’s the weight of one full coffee filter. Of our total waste volume, 75% is sent to the SYSAV incineration plant in Malmö, where it is converted into new energy.
The rest is recycled, and no hazardous waste is produced. So, 75% of our waste is converted into new energy and 25% is recycled.

 

5 Made in Sweden
Made in Sweden – think globally, act locally. Short transportation routes save valuable energy and reduce environmental pollution through harmful emissions. This is the reason 90% of our raw materials and packaging are sourced from local Swedish suppliers, principally within a 100km radius of the plant.
Furthermore, the whole manufacturing process takes place in one location: Höör, Sweden.
Made in Sweden: the stamp of protection and quality.

Sweden has particularly strict regulations regarding health and environmental protection. Regular inspections ensure compliance with laws and regulations. uvex is therefore the first organisation in the personal protective equipment (PPE) sector to have been audited and approved in accordance with ISO 26000*.

 

6 Industrial and product safety
Optimal industrial safety is a matter of course for us. There have been no accidents at work for our employees since the company was established in 2005.
This health and safety pledge also applies to our products: it’s been proven that our earplugs are free from harmful substances*.
Protecting people’s health is guaranteed: we undergo regular inspections from independent testing institutes.

*uvex has a list of banned harmful substances which stretches far beyond those stipulated in EU regulations (e.g. REACH)
Independent testing institutes regularly test to verify the absence of these harmful substances.

 

7 Environmentally friendly product concept
Smart refill system. Easy disposal.
Of the earplugs we produce, 50% are sold in large, refillable dispensers. One dispenser is able to hold 400 pairs of earplugs and can be stocked with refill packs, decreasing the volume of waste.
Our earplugs are for disposable hearing protection. As they can be incinerated without waste, they can be safely disposed of after use.
Unlike reusable earplugs, ours do not need to be cleaned with water and aggressive cleaning agents. This helps conserve water resources, minimising the impact on the environment.
With a refill quota of 50%, we save 85% on plastic film and 50% on cardboard boxes.

 

8 Social responsibility
Equal opportunities.
More than 90% of our assembly work is carried out by people with disabilities.
Our long-standing collaboration with sheltered workshops ensures the highest level of quality and gives individuals with disabilities a professional future.
We help young unemployed people get their first job, and introduce them to the working world.
The number of people we support per year is double that of our own employees.

 

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Those are our eight core principles on sustainability in Sweden.
The core sustainability principles to which our Italian colleagues adhere can be found in the upcoming blog post “Sustainability in the security footwear manufacturing process” as part of our sustainability brochure.

For questions on the topic of sustainability, or how we put it into practice at our plants, do not hesitate to contact us via email at expertenblog@uvex.de

 

#uvexTREME
Battle in the depths of the earth: underground mining in South Africa

uvexTREME – the toughest jobs in the world

We all know that every job has its tough side, but there are jobs that are much tougher than we could ever imagine, where people take on the greatest risks and overcome all dangers with passion and courage. As passion and courage alone are not protection enough, uvex safety provides that added extra for everyday work. “Everyday” is not really the right word for this kind of job.

 

There could scarcely be a tougher job: in South Africa’s underground mining industry, thousands of miners work long shifts each day of up to 12 hours. It is an absolutely extreme situation where man and materials are repeatedly pushed to their limits.

Working in constant darkness, where the sudden artificial tunnel lighting or a torch on someone’s helmet creates glaring dazzling light. Permanent exposure to dust that puts a strain on lungs and airways as well as immense levels of noise, which are multiplied by the narrow shafts. Extreme climatic conditions with high temperatures and oppressive humidity; tunnels in which movement is sometimes only possible in a crouched position or even by sliding along on your stomach.  Strong infrared radiation from welding work, not to mention the incalculable risks of falling debris and stones.

Without appropriate protection, such as the skyguard safety eyewear, the whisper noise protection and the silv-Air Classic FFP2v breathing protection masks from uvex, work under these conditions would scarcely be possible.

Day in and day out, South Africa’s miners do a job that is unparalleled. This deserves not only our respect, but also our maximum protection.

 

How extreme is your job?

Is your job the toughest in the world? Why not show us!

 

Be part of “uvexTreme – the toughest jobs in the world. Tell us your story on facebook/uvexsafetygroup or send us an e-mail to  safety@uvex.de.

 

 

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